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Birmingham v Forest preview: a Trevor Francis retrospective

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Sometimes it's tricky to think of a player who is held in the same regard by two clubs. Not this week though, as we spend a hugely enjoyable time swimming through the pleasure of a Trevor Francis compilation...

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Making his debut aged just 16 for Birmingham, Francis was what Americans might call a 'phenom', scoring 15 goals in his first season, including four in one game against Bolton. It was the pace that set him apart, like a gangly version of Michael Owen, blistering his way past defenders as if they were hobnail-booted sacks of lead. Which, in the 1970s, wasn't far from the truth.

It was goals like this in 1976 that made him so legendary, against a QPR side that were seemingly trying to fool everyone into thinking they were Feyenoord. They only avoided relegation by four points that season, so it didn't really work out for them.

Before moving to Forest, he arranged a 'sabbatical' in the U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! and played for NASL side Detroit Express for a spell, of course going hog wild and scoring 22 goals in 19 games. Here's one of them, scored while playing alongside the thirsty Alan Brazil.

Then Forest, arriving for a sum of money I can't quite recall now (dunno, was it significant? I probably would've remembered if it was). Here's a bit about him signing, which a) doesn't actually feature him playing for Forest and b) scandalously refers to 'Notts Forest', but have it anyways...

His goals return actually wasn't anything special, bagging just 28 in 70 league games, but that doesn't exactly matter when you consider the importance of some of those goals. We'll get to *that* one in a minute, but Francis also popped up with a crucial couple in the European Cup quarter-final against Dynamo Berlin in 1979/80. It's worth watching all of this, but Trev's goals are at 0.28 and 5.17, the second flummoxing John Motson a little...

This one, against Aston Villa in 1981, was decent too.

Ah, go on then. Here it is. Treat yourself to the whole game, but 'Well that's what I wanted to see Robertson do!' starts around 49.30.

Francis was then of course sold to Manchester City, but after that had a pleasant few years in Italy with Sampdoria and Atalanta, where he scored a few goals, but that's really a side issue. This is a song composed and performed by a Carlo Celi, called 'Trevor Francis', and it's quite magnificent. The slap bass/filthy saxophone combo is something to behold.

Thanks Trev. Thanks for the goals, and thanks for inspiring this slice of musical history.